“Prom Queen: The Musical” recently celebrated its worldwide debut at Montreal’s Segal Centre for Performing Arts. The exuberant musical, which is earning glowing reviews, has extended its run until November 23. Kent Staines’ poignant stage-play is based on the true story of Ontario high school student Marc Hall’s 2002 legal battle with the Catholic School Board, after his school refused to allow him to attend his graduation dance with his boyfriend. Director Marcia Kash and songwriters Akiva Romer-Segal and Colleen Dauncey infuse “Prom Queen” with an adept mix of charm, exuberance and heartfelt passion. The infectious music, directed by Mark Camilleri and choreographed by Sean Cheesman, brings levity to the story but never overshadows its vital message.
While performances by the diverse cast are uniformly outstanding, the show belongs to Alessandro Costantini as Marc, who commands the stage with boundless, radiant charm. His character is sweet but not cloying, gentle but never weak. Marc’s self-acceptance is the cornerstone of this play and Costantini presents him as a proud and confident role model to his friends and family, who struggle far more than he does, with body image, gender roles and identity.
Other outstanding performers are Katee Julien and Sylvain Scott, as Marc’s parents. Emily is a relentless force of nature, whose love and support for her son are inexorable. Conventional Audy is slower to defend his son, but finally assures him with a teary hug, “You will be infinite, by being the person you are.”
Adolescence is a time of self-discovery, of figuring out where we belong. For many young people, that journey can be laden with depression, shame and fear. Despite recent efforts to sensitize and enlighten students, online bullying and other harassment frequently prevails. “Prom Queen’s” messages of acceptance and respect are an eloquent, engaging antidote for all teenagers—as well as their parents.
“Prom Queen: The Musical”
Extended until November 23
The Segal Centre for Performing Arts
5170 Cote Ste. Catherine Rd.
(514) 739-2301 ext. 8363
Sun & Mon 7 p.m.
Tues to Thurs & Sat 8 p.m. (Closed Fri)
Tickets: $51- $65